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Cracks emerge in currency saga as Govt, BoU disown police report on printing extra cash

Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga and government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo respectively. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA –The investigation into the Bank of Uganda (BoU) currency saga on Tuesday took a new twist after both government and the central bank dismissed police reports that extra money was discovered to have been printed and sneaked into the country.

On Monday 17 June, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga told journalists that CID had taken over investigations to find out how the extra cash was printed.

BoU wants Enanga and the entire communication department in police to apologise because they are misleading Ugandans about nonexistent extra currency in the economy.

The money was allegedly shipped into the country on the same chartered flight that carried official central bank currency notes in April.

But in separate press conferences held in Kampala on Tuesday, both BoU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said no extra money was printed and the investigations are not on currency printing but on illegal cargo found on the said chartered plane.

“We are only investigating the extra cargo on the charter plane. Legally this plane was supposed to have only cargo belonging to Bank of Uganda, but according to the Airway bills and customs documents at Entebbe International Airport, there were five extra consignments belonging to 13 individuals. That is what is being investigated,” Opondo said at the Media Centre.

According to Mr Opondo, BoU procured items from France and chartered a plane from Paris to deliver its consignment to Uganda on April 27, 2019.

However, after they had checked and cleared the items, one of the staff noticed that the plane was carrying extra cargo which prompted him to inform the top leadership of BoU.

“I don’t know where police got that information on extra printed money but the real matter being investigated is how the private individuals and diplomatic organizations had their cargo on the chartered plane by BoU,” added Opondo.

This extra cargo, according to Opondo had items such as acid batteries, medical equipment, and human blood apparatus among others according to documentation.

“I want to inform the public to stay calm, no extra money was dumped into the economy,” he said.

Mr Mutebile also dismissed allegations that more money was printed, saying that he requested the investigation to establish how extra cargo was found on the plane carrying the currency.

“Our interest as the Central Bank is to establish how extra five pallets came on the plane alongside the pallets containing our currency, which I received. That is all,” he said.

The police’s communications department did not pick our repeated calls for a follow-up.

The latest information on complicates the investigation since on Monday police said they had raided homes of several BoU officials and found evidence of extra money having been printed.

“CID has taken over all the inquiries into the irregularities surrounding the consignments of money that were printed in the related supply chain. The directorate will, however, work alongside Lt Col Edith Nakalema’s State House unit,” said Enanga.

Last week, the State House Anti-corruption Unit and police arrested several central bank officials in charge of currency, procurement and security after a tip-off that some senior officials had authorised the printing of money in excess of about Shs90b.

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